Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 17th, 2008 at 12:59 pm
This morning, in well-timed nod to St. Patrick’s Day, City of Portland crews finished the installation of the green bike box and bike lane at SE Hawthorne and 7th. They also installed new permanent signs adjacent to the intersection warning motorists to yield to bikes in the green lane and reminding them of “No Turn on Red”.
The box is large, highly visible and offers quite a welcome mat for cyclists. The box is 14 feet deep and the green stretches across an entire standard-width lane and the adjacent bike lane.
Before laying down sheets of the green, pre-formed thermoplastic material (I’ve snatched a piece as a souvenir), crew members rolled a special adhesive onto the ground. Gary Bantin was on hand to assist with the application. Bantin works with Flint Trading, Inc., makers of PreMark, the green material used by the city in the new colored lanes and bike boxes. He says the lanes and bike box will see such a high volume of heavy and turning car traffic that he wanted to make sure the material was durable.
“This material,” he said, “lasts 6-8 times longer than paint. I expect it to last at least five years.”
Once the pieces of thermoplastic were in place, they were burned onto the roadway with torches.
Along with the new green lane and bike box, new signs were also installed. One warns cars to yield to bikes in the green lane and another says, “No Turn on Red – Except Bicycles.”
City of Portland bicycle coordinator Roger Geller showed up to see how things were going. After an interview with KATU-TV, Geller threw a leg over his bike and was officially the first person to give the new bike box its first real-life test.
Kirstin Byer, traffic projects supervisor for the City of Portland (also of Martinis in the Bike Lane fame), was also on hand. She brought out three Bureau of Maintenance crews for this first installation, “just so they all could see how it’s done.”
Byer says she’ll wait for better weather before crews get started on the other 14 or so (the number keeps changing) intersections that are slated for similar improvements.
I stuck around for a while after everyone had left. Cars stopped prior to the new bike box on every one of the five or so red lights I observed. I did however, see one car turn right on red. Unfortunately the “No Right on Red” sign is not highly visible (it’s across the street, high and to the right of the roadway). Hopefully the combination of educational outreach by PDOT and the Police Bureau (more on that in my next post) will remind folks of the law.
I plan to be out there again later this afternoon when hundreds of bike commuters give the new bike box it’s first big test.
For more images, check out my Portland’s First Bike Box photo gallery.